charloween: (Default)
There's lots wrong with Camille Bacon-Smith's book Enterprising Women (UPenn Press, 1992).*

*The fandom-is-interently-feminine-because-it's-about-patterns-just-like-quilting-or-childrearing!! argument is one of her low points.

Her prose makes fandom sound kind of creepy.

Here's her description (from page 179!) of a fannish party (no, gathering) where vids are being played: "When conversation lags, participants* will spend a few minutes looking at the screen, perhaps pick up a thread of conversation from the image, and turn their attention back to each other, away from the screen."

Ugh, 'participants' in a 'gathering'.

Read that again, but this time do it in a David Attenborough voice.

It's like: once the gathering's participants can no longer find words to sustain their fellowship, they will drift back to the glowing machine in the corner, whose flickering screen re-animates and sustains the geographically-contiguous interactions.

Creepy creepy creepy.
charloween: (pure style)
This is what my chapter's about:

More or less.

I should explain: I was choosing slides for my presentation and detoured through a gif maker.

ETA: On reflection, that doesn't really explain it at all.
charloween: (Unimpressed)
The more I read John Fiske's essay "The Cultural Economy of Fandom" (from Lisa A. Lewis's lovely 1992 collection The Adoring Audience), the more I find reasons to dislike it. The collection itself is excellent. It's this annoyingly patronizing take on what fans do that gets me. Just because someone can write clearly on television and communication theory doesn't mean gross generalizations of fan activity will stand up under (procrastination-fueled) scrutiny.

I offer you:

"Fan texts [i.e., not "fan works" but "fandoms" - the shows, films, stars, etc.], then, have to be ‘producerly’ (Fiske 1987, 1989a), in that they have to be open, to contain gaps, irresolutions, contradictions, which both allow and invite fan productivity. [So, they have to be broken? Below the standards of highbrow literature, art cinema, worthy public figures... Not quite finished, half-baked?] They are insufficient [UGH.] texts that are inadequate [AUGH.] to their cultural function of circulating meaning and pleasure [completely dead, empty, meaninglessly incoherent] until they are worked upon and activated [*bzzzzt* WARNING: ACTIVATING CULTURE. *whoop whoop whoop*] by their fans, who by such activity produce their own popular cultural capital [which naturally can't be accessed by anyone else, for whom these "insufficient texts" remain... deactivated?]." (p42)

Way to damn with faint praise, Fiske. I'd say fandom adds a kind of meaning to texts - like, at VVC there've been lovely Watchmen and Wanted vids that heighten an emotional interiority of characters that is obscured in the films themselves - but it's a kind of fannish meaning that permits texts to be read in specific ways.

"Insufficient texts" is such an idiotic phrase. Fannish "texts" are read as containing a little semiotic wiggle room by some fans, they don't necessarily contain a systemic deficiency of meaning or pleasure.

I mean, honestly.

And then this:

"Collecting is also important in fan culture, [Yes!] but it tends to be inclusive rather than exclusive: [fandom's all about inclusion, amirite? oh, wait...] the emphasis is not so much upon acquiring a few good (and thus expensive) [*HEADDESK*] objects as upon accumulating as much as possible. [Let's all point at the creepy hoarders. HOARDERS. HOARDERS. They have TV shows about broken, antisocial people like you.] The individual objects [like what? Kitschy mugs, action figures, coasters with Spock's face on them, what?] are therefore often cheap, devalued by the official culture, and mass-produced [whaaaaaat examples aaaaaare you uuuuuuusing]. The distinctiveness lies in the extent of the collection rather than their uniqueness [uh huh...] or authenticity [*red flag*] as cultural objects [inauthentic. cultural. objects. auuugh.]. There are, of course, exceptions to this [good!]: fans with high economic capital [probably men, right? "high economic capital" doesn't often refer to women] will often use it, in a non-aesthetic parallel of the official culture [what does that even mean], to accumulate unique and authentic objects – a guitar [like a (male) rock fan would do!], an autographed piece of sporting equipment [again: stereotype of male fandom], an article of clothing ‘genuinely’ worn by the star [women! women like fashion!], or an object once possessed by him or her [but not, like, romance novels that you can share with your friends, right? so between a sizable community there can be a significant number of volumes without any individual member needing to purchase everything? No, that wouldn't be "authentic".]." (p44)

....Ah, I feel better now.
charloween: (bookstack)
Today's meeting with my supervisor included a discussion that, were I to put it into my thesis, would have to be titled something like, "Farscape vs. Smallville: Grimdark Monkeycrack vs. Big Dumb Alien".

Scary part is a sentence or two of that discussion might indeed end up in the thesis. #Catbaby is going in. All hail #catbaby!

I need to kick it in gear and finish excising 4000 words from Document A, create an abstract + bibliography + 15 minute conference paper from Document B, and then go to London to catch a taping of The Unbelievable Truth on Tuesday. And reply to ALL THE EMAILS. Plus I'm working all day on Saturday. ...All hail #catbaby? *paws at air*

(My supervisor also wrote "Good work." at the end of her comments on this latest flail of writing, so I am reassured I'm on the right track.)
charloween: (bookstack)
Seems my history of punning and wordplay hasn't been wasted. My lit review and the article I'm thinking about starting to write (due March 31) are now based in picking apart key theoretical metaphors.

Seems I'm now establishing my approach to theoretical interventions: 1) find a theory that seems inadequate, 2) locate a central metaphor used in describing that theory, 3) mock the metaphor, 4) suggest alternate metaphor that makes more sense, and then 5) propose new theoretical framework. The metaphor is my way in. My MA had a subtle joke about rabbits proliferating: the article is going to make that one a bit more obvious.

Seems it's all based in the subtleties of language, and in working in as many subtle puns into my academic writing as I can. Like the cookies [personal profile] firstgold and I make at Christmas: just enough batter there to hold in the chocolate chips, cranberries, ginger bits... Just enough academic prose surrounding the puns that it looks (and tastes!) like a thesis.

Seems like a good excuse to link to this vid.
charloween: (Default)
Today, in my office (I have an office!), I spent most of the afternoon reading about remote controls (you know, for your TV!) and deciding that for my purposes, the VCR was probably the more significant technological change than the remote.

It was possible to change channels and/or volume pre-RCD ("remote control device", which sounds more academic than "zapper-thing"), the RCD just makes things easier. The VCR, on the other hand, made possible a totally different set of interactions.

It doesn't just represent a more convenient way to do something you'd been planning to do already (i.e. watch TV), it means that you can fit your TV-watching around your life, rather than always having to be parked in front of the set at a time chosen by some network exec. It also means you can fit shows into your life that you wouldn't otherwise been able to see (here I'm thinking of trading tapes with people overseas). (It did, however, come with its own RCD, thus heralding a multi-RCD universe and ensuring that everyone will, at some point in their life, point one at the wrong device and swear when "The [expletive deleted] thing isn't working.")

Therefore RCD = convenient, VCR = game-changer.

...what do you think?


Aug. 23rd, 2010 06:45 pm
charloween: (watch all the vids!)


*Commas need wrangling, but otherwise... I HAS AN MA!

And while the committee was deciding my fate, I checked my email: UKBA issued my visa!


Okay, nap time now.
charloween: (Default)
I saw four plays at Stratford in the last five days. More on that later. Rather than thinking about that I'm obsessing about tomorrow morning: visiting the UK Boarder Agency for the dread biometrics appointment. Idk, the UK wants retinal scans or something.

More importantly, it's where I can drop off all my paperwork and supporting documents for my visa. It's also where I can beg to pay to be one of the day's 20 priority applicants, to see my visa before the end of next week. Versus in four weeks, right before I travel.

It feels a little shady and a little Eastern Bloc to pay to jump the queue. If I didn't, though, I'd be unbearably twitchy and nervous for the next month.

If all goes as planned I'll only be unbearably twitchy and nervous until Monday afternoon (defending The Thesis!), with sustained moderate-to-high twitchy-and-nervous in the forecast until next Friday (by which point I might have the visa in hand and thesis revisions completed*).

And then: packing. Augh!

*I am starting to believe it might actually be not terrible. It being the defend-and-revise coda to my last two years.


Jul. 14th, 2010 08:05 am
charloween: (Default)
Yesterday, I (in chronological order):

1. Visited the Museum of Inuit Art.

2. Sent off my thesis* to my supervisory committee, who'll then recommend it (yes! they will!) to for an oral defense and then I get to send it to two other people. I will not open the file to make changes** until after mid-August when the examining committee gives me revisions (yes, they will).*** Thank you to my cheerleaders and comma-removers! Couldn't have done this without you.****

3. Bought and started playing Lego Harry Potter for DS. So cute! Though I've decided not to think about how satisfying it is to get Harry to wear his school uniform while running around the Dursley house using spells to smash everything.

* Which includes: lots of Doctor Who, a little gratuitous Batman, and a substantial section talking about "Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros". There's also Kirk/Spock, All My Children, and lots of theory about watching television. Among other things. \o/

** Except to reformat my haphazard and inconsistent bibliography.

*** See **.

**** All 37,000 words of it.
charloween: (pure style)
Before breaking for soccer* I spent the morning finding more-academic ways to say things like:
1. "self-aggrandizing claims of bad-assery"
2. "textual cockblocking versus denial of a continuing relationship"
3. "this connotation is aided by the diegetic tea"

At one point, I ran downstairs to ask my mother what a good synonym for "chutzpah" would be, because I wanted to say that when someone said a character was "having a ball" there was a triple-meaning 'cause he was a) having fun, b) had a sphere beside him, and c) (as per Mum's suggestion) was audacious.

I've been keeping a post-it list of the bits I've had to reword.

...back to it!

*The Dutch obviously had a Don Cherry's Rock'em Sock'em marathon before the match. Disappointing. But listening to the BBC's commentators snark through the match was fantastic.
charloween: (what subtext)
1. write lots before soccer

2. watch soccer

3. write more after soccer

4. stay cool

5. stretch the limits of my academic linguistic creativity after discovering that a) I'm writing about what amounts to the eroticization of children's tv characters and b) MS Word is so prudish its thesaurus doesn't offer synonyms for "erotic".* This is a problem when discussing the lyrics to Queen's "Don't Stop Me". All of the synonyms that come to mind aren't entirely appropriate for this academic work.

6. write more, futz with MS Word less

7. make an "I'm not dead" blog post

*After discovering this, I checked what it'd suggest for "sex", and got: "gender", "sexual category", "sexual characteristics", "masculinity" and "femininity". "Intercourse" is synonymous with "contact", "communication", "interaction", "association" and nothing else.
charloween: (arty TARDIS)
My thesis has a lot of Barthes, in fact, the theoretical foundation is pretty much the way captions, as he says, "help choose the correct level of perception" when you're looking at a photojournalism. It's all very political.

My thesis also has a lot of Doctor Who, in fact, the episodes I picked (thinking that one show would be as analytically fruitful as another, all things considered) are the ones that use "perception filters" as an important plot point. It's all very sufficiently advanced tech = magic.

This is either awesome or horrifying.

I can't make it all about the perception filters (or about the idea of a fluid, postmodern identity vis-a-vis regeneration), but I probably can add an apologetic appendix to the thesis declaring I totally didn't mean to pick examples that explicitly address the same themes as my thesis. It was an accident, I swear I wasn't trying to be coy.
charloween: (fly)
The directed reading, with its tidy allotments of work (one chapter, one summary, etc etc), is DONE. The summaries plus the summaries' summary (executive summary? overview? lit review draft?) total 32K words.

The thesis needs to be 30K.

That's what I'll start on, tomorrow. *cracks knuckles*

But now: I will get dressed and start shifting boxes to the front hall so Mum and I can have an easier time of it, dragging everything out to the car. I've been slowly moving out for the last month. (It's getting a bit ridiculous.)
charloween: (Default)
Joss Whedon snuck into my thesis. (Fun fact: "snuck" is apparently a Canadianism.) This latest summary was of an article about Buffy/Spike, Buffy/Angel and Spike/Angel and I happened to have a good vid with those three that I could use an example. That means I got to write:

Angel is distressed that Buffy's carnal inclinations are directed to Angel's former student and rival.

It's like the bad described-audio version of Angel's epic man-pain. I want to write more in this style, but my tone already wanders between silly, angry and overly-casual... so maybe not.

Hey piratefanatic! Click here to live vicariously! )
charloween: (Default)
Question for those of you in fandom (those of you not in fandom, please feel free to scroll on by): a theorist I'm reading says that fans "use the material created by the dominant class to express their resistance and overcome feelings of subordination and powerlessness".

I don't think this is right. Do you think this is right?

Why I'm asking )

ETA: Have just spent 45 minutes blogging and not writing. Bad! Must write more in the other window. You know, the one where I'm supposed to be writing.

ETA 2 (12:30am): Went back to writing, oh-so diligently, and finished another summary! So I started on yet another! Wahooooo!
charloween: (Unimpressed)
That's right: done.

Demon paper, paper from the darker circles of the Inferno, paper on political economy: done.

It's isn't technically my Last Term Paper Ever in this degree, but I'm expecting my directed reading to be: a) fun, b) not dealing with systems of knowledge that resist making sense no matter how much I whine about them, and also c) useful.

(Not that this paper wasn't entirely un-useful. It made me re-read Stuart Hall's "Encoding/Decoding" and I found something there I'd missed before about the dual nature of media consumption: that it happens both materially - buy a newspaper, watch a tv show - and also discursively - make what you read/watch meaningful in the most basic and also complex ways possible. But he argues that the material consumption is meaningless without discursive consumption, meaning that the study of media content is just as important as larger structural issues. ...I like theory. *happysigh*)

And then it's Thesis Time. If my previous thesis experience is anything to go by, I'll either disappear until it's done or spam this space with daily page count updates and moanings about my scholastic inadequacy. (I suppose my ability to use a phrase like "scholastic inadequacy" means I'm probably playing in the correct league. Also, *points to previous paragraph*)

Just, you know, FYI.

...I'm going to get another beer, open that Ben & Jerry's Brownie Cheesecake ice cream I paid $9 for, and finally watch the new season of In Plain Sight. Maybe just one episode. Or two. 3x02 is called "When Mary Met Marshall". ♥
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